Get ready for an expedition through the cloud forests of Central America, discovering thriving insects from eight inch butterflies, battling beetles, munching praying mantids  or jewel scarabs, the gems of the cloud forest. Written in the form of a journal, Randal Barnes’ recorded observations teach about eight exotic insects, and offer cardboard models to assemble from 58 pieces. Open the book to the pages about an insect and you are greeted with a visual feast of maps where the insects are found, beautiful color illustrations, diagrams for model assembly, and closeups of wing scales, camoflage, or eggs cases. Delivered with small bits of content reinforced by visual pieces, this guide works well with children who have a shorted attention span, are visual learners, or need text broken up into smaller chunks to keep them motivated to read and learn. An “active” book,  The Field Guide to Insects,  keeps kids engaged and teaches at the same time.

Kids love the models which might require some parent involvement, depending on the age of the child. After a little boy finished his model he ran to tell his mom, “You won’t believe all these pieces in one small book!” Then he asked me if he could take his model to school tomorrow.” That’s quite an endorsement.

Sherry Artemenko, MA-CCC, is a speech-language pathologist with more than 35 years experience and founder of The opinions expressed in this review are solely those of the author. “The Field Guide to Insects” was provided for review by Silver Dolphin.